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Make Halloween work for you all year

Maria Mora is a freelance writer and single mom fueled by coffee, questionable time management skills, toaster oven waffles and the color orange. She lives in Florida with her two young sons. If you see her on Twitter, tell her to stop p...

Stock up on costumes

Why spend money on an outfit your child will only wear once?

This year, choose a costume she can use all year long. Better yet, raid the post-Halloween sales to stock up on a whole costume chest your child can use for imaginative play until next year.

For many parents, one of the most annoying aspects of Halloween is dropping time and money on a costume that’s only worn once. It’s like prom for kids. This year, instead of blowing money on a single-use wardrobe item, shop smart and stock up on costumes and props your children can use year-round. Try hitting stores after the holiday for bargains on costumes you can transition into make-believe play clothes.

Think props

When you’re shopping for Halloween costumes, particularly after Halloween when discounts are deep, think props. Costumes with hats, masks, play weapons and other props have better value than flimsy polyester sheaths. A knight costume with a toy shield will get hours of play throughout the year. Look for play weapons that are clearly fake and flexible. Anything with a hard edge is not safe for Halloween or play time. If your child is particularly interested in a specific make-believe hobby, such as cooking or playing veterinarian, look for costumes and props that fit that interest. They’ll be a great addition to the educational imaginitive play toys you already own.

Shop trends

Consider what’s popular this year when you’re shopping for Halloween costumes before and after the holiday. Think about the television shows, books and movies your children are interested in. This year, superheroes are very popular. Big screen princesses are also a hit, and those costumes can be worn to theme parks for special visits. The more your child is interested in a costume or character, the more likely it is that she’ll don the costume later for solving some crimes in the back yard or staging an epic adventure with her friends.

Stock a zoo

Try shopping based on a specific theme when you browse deep discount bins and racks when costumes go on sale after Halloween. Animals are an easy, neutral topic. Fill a storage bin or toy chest with soft, fuzzy animal costumes so that your children can play zoo whenever they have friends over. Make it a family project by inviting your children to research specific animals and create information books for zoo “tours” around the house. You may learn things you didn’t know about monkeys, lions and bears (oh my).

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Dress for dramatics

Foster a love of the theater with costumes and props that encourage your children to perform plays at home. This can be a year-long project, beginning with the costume “design” stage. Help your kids work with a specific budget and go shopping when costumes and accessories are on sale. Stock up on theater makeup, wigs and masks. Your kids can use them for their next amateur production. Store the theater goods and costumes in a plastic bin while the kids prepare a play or movie, if they have access to a video camera. When it’s time for the dress rehearsal, the kids will have everything they need to put on an exciting show.

More Halloween ideas

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